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Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction & Night Hike here in NE Atlanta

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: 2868 LaVista Rd, in NE Atlanta near I-85 Clairmont exit   Hike: Jupiter-Saturn Great Conjunction & Night Hike here in NE Atlanta  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Mon, Dec 21 2020  5:30 pm >> Mon, Dec 21 2020 7:00 pm
Registration Opens: Sun, Dec 20 2020 8:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Mon, Dec 21 2020 4:00 pm
Event Duration:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Difficulty Rating:D1: Easy
Distance:1 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Charlie Cottingham
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:10
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 11 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No


EVENT PLAN:  Beautiful clear weather in the low 50s is expected here in metro Atlanta this Monday evening.  We hope a few of you "hiker-skygazers" can join us at DeKalb County's popular Frazier-Rowe Park to celebrate the Winter Solstice (longest night of the year) with a short hike and a group viewing of the much publicized "Great Conjunction" of our two largest planets Jupiter & Saturn.  Coincidentally the bright gas giants' closest visual approach to one another in the sky this year happens to be on the solstice, and more incredibly this will be also their closest conjunction that is easily visible from Earth in almost 800 years! (See graphic above.)
 We'll gather at the entrance of Frazier-Rowe Park beginning at 5:15 PM on the eastern end of its large free parking lot
 by the woods next to "Sprig Restaurant."  (See Directions & GPS Info below.)  We can expect to enjoy a colorful sunset at about 5:30 PM.  Then as soon as about 6:00 PM the two planets will gradually appear and brighten together above the western horizon almost as if they were a single very bright star, and a couple of hours later set together below the trees.
  For closeup views of the conjunction (including likely the rings of Saturn and largest moons of Jupiter shown above) I'll bring my telescope and a couple of pair of binoculars to share.  Please bring your own binocs, etc. if you have a pair.  We'll walk across the parking lot to a west-facing paved overlook just beyond "Fellini's Pizza" where there are fewer streetlights and trees to impair our view of the sky.
  By the way, since both planets are so bright it's not really essential to drive to a faraway mountaintop, etc. to enjoy this rare event, and at almost any spot in the world with a reasonably unobstructed view of the western sky it's "worth a try" to enjoy it just after sunset on Dec 21st.
  At an appropriate time - probably between 6:30 and 7:00 PM - we'll top off our "skygazing adventure" with a short night hike through the Frazier-Rowe forest and its adjoining "Coralwood Nature Preserve."  There will be a beautiful crescent moon high above us to help light the way, but please bring your own lightweight headlamp or flashlight for safety's sake.  Feel free to "split" early if you prefer, but please let me know if and when you do so.
  As usual for all AOC events during the pandemic we intend of course to observe the CDC's COVID-19 guidelines regarding social distancing, wearing of masks, etc.
  p.s. Thanks to my good friend Tony Ciccarello for posting and leading an excellent alternative AOC skygazing + hiking event for experiencing the Great Conjunction at Mount Yonah in North GA's Chattahoochee Nat'l Forest.  We wish Tony and his group "Happy Hiking & Skygazing"!  

For More Conjunction Details:  Click this Sky & Telescope link for lots of great info, photos & graphics:

Info about Frazier-Rowe Park:  Since its founding in about 2013 dozens of hard-working "Friends" volunteers have built and continue to improve and maintain the Park's extensive networks of scenic trails. Named for two neighboring families of different ethnicity who lived in harmony there in the mid-20th century, Frazier-Rowe Park occupies about 12 acres of forest. Frazier-Rowe hikers can also easily connect to thepretty trail system of the "Coralwood Nature Preserve " (about 10 more acres of the same forest behind Coralwood Elementary School.)  We volunteers enjoy pitching in on monthly workdays to do trail work and remove invasive plants such as English ivy, Chinese privet, Japanese kudzu, and Asian "thorny olive." For more Frazier-Rowe info & photos click this link: 

Required Items to Bring:

• Wear comfortable well-broken-in Athletic Shoes or Hiking Boots and Lightweight Clothing appropriate for the weather. 
• Hydrate in advance and carry a little water/beverage in a Water Bottle (or "Camelbak," etc.).

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

Binoculars and/or a Telescope if you can conveniently bring to supplement my own which I'll bring to share.
 or Camera for taking pictures. Lots of nice photo-ops!
Headlamp or Flashlight for our night hike.
Trekking Poles: Consider bringing & using f you have a pair.  A simple shoulder-high hiking stick works about as well to improve stability and give your triceps & shoulders a workout by transferring weight from your knees & legs.

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

FROM I-85 CLAIRMONT RD EXIT (Exit #91) in NE Atlanta to our FRAZIER-ROWE PARK Meetup Spot:   (For a zoomable color MAP and satellite view of this spot and its vicinity click the square blue & green "Event Location" icon near the top of this article.)

1. From I-85 Exit #91 (GA-23, "Clairmont Rd") take Clairmont Road toward Decatur (south & slightly east) about 1.6 miles to the traffic light at LaVista Road.

2. Turn Left onto LaVista and go eastward 0.9 mile (THROUGH the next traffic light at Oak Grove Rd) to the small "Vista Grove Plaza" shopping center on your Left (at 2868 LaVista Rd).  Look for Sprig  and Subway restaurants on the end of the shopping center
 by the woods and park in that vicinity of the big lot.

3. We'll gather at the "Frazier-Rowe Park" bulletin board and trailhead on the edge of the woods - just a few feet from the Sprig restaurant entrance.  Please be on time, allowing for traffic.

LAT/LON COORDINATES of the Frazier-Rowe Park trailhead where we'll meet:  33.8256, -84.2893  (GPS or users may wish to enter these map coordinates as your Destination Address, being sure to include the comma & minus sign.)  A nearby verbal street address is 2886 LaVista Rd, Decatur, GA 30033.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cost Includes:

Free Event with Free Parking!

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.